This booK tuas presented by
Miss Bella Lebach
In Loving Memory of . . .
:'.:■ "lOttie Lebach
ART WORK OF YORK
THE W. H. PARISH PUBLISHING CO.
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in 2010 with funding from
Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE
CITY AND COUNTY OF YORK, PA.
Bv l':i)\v.\ui) Stuck, Eduor York Kvkninc. .\gi-..
-, rfiic City of York, the county seat of York county, enjoys the distinction of heing one
J ♦ I of the most beautifully situated, healthy and prosperous inland cities in the common-
'^'^^ wealth of Pennsylvania. It is located in the fertile valley of the Codorus, fifty-seven
miles from Baltimore, twenty-eight miles from Harrisburg, the State Capital, and ninety miles from
Philadelphia, with which places it is connected by the Pennsylvania railroad. The rich and
productive valley in which York is so favorably built, is a continuation of the famous Cumberland
valley. This valley e.Ktends to the Susquehanna river at Wrightsville, where interrupted by the
river's broad e.xpanse of water, continues its course on the other shore, through Lancaster into
Chester, forming in its miles of length, one of the richest agricultural belts in the Union. There
is no territory in the country so replete in history or more intimately associated with the struggle
VIEWS liN GRANTLEY
of the Colonies in the war of Indcpentlence. The cit)- is nestled on both sides of tlie Codonis,
surrounded by hills in iis immediate suburbs anil in the dim distance, the wooded tops of the
Conewag-os and South Mountain rang-c^s, raise their loft\- peaks heavenward like grim spectres,
forming^ a protecting barrier against the blasts of the storm king. York was one of the original
colonial boroughs of the ci)mmonwealth and among the verv last to surrender its borough charter
to adopt that of a city government.
In the contracted limits of th(> space devoted to this historical sketch, we are unable to do
proper justice to a locality so prominently associated with the early history of America. Conlmed
to some nine thousand words, one can give but a compendium and pass brielly over important
and interesting events. The writer is indebted for much of the data herein contained to Gibson's
Centennial Historical Sketch of \'ork County, published in 1876. Those portions of this paper
within quotation marks have been copied in their entirety from Gibson's sketch.
Yorktown, the primitive name given it by the original settlers, is a part of Springettsbury
Manor, the title given to the land including its site, and that lying between it and the Susijuehanna
river, by William Penn when he acquired the land under warrant of Charles II., by Euroijean
law, as also by independent title from the Indian occupants.
The original settlers of York and York county were Germans, who as early as 1729, located
on Kreutz and Codorus creeks, composing the present townships of Hellam. Springettsbury,
Spring Garden, York, Shrewsbury and Springfield. These settlers were Lutherans. Moravians and
German Reformed. The lower end of the county, then, and for many )-ears afterward, was
denominated as the "Barrens." because of the lack of timber in that; localit)-. It was settled about
the same time by Scotch Irish, and comprise the townships of Peach Bottom, Fawn, Chanceford,
Hopewell and Windsor. These settlers were mosdy Presb}-terians. The Quaker families settled
in the townships of Newberry, Fairview, Monaghan, Warrington. P'ranklin, Washington and
Carroll. The Palatinate upon the Rhine furnished a complement of sturd}- German reformers,
tieeing from the persecutions in their countr\- with the Huguenots, the Puritans and the Quakers,
who sought homes in this section, and from which ancestry some of the principal families in
wealth and culture here ha\e sprung-.
The history of the early settlers of York is contemporaneous with that of the people of the
United States. Theirs was a continual struggle for their rights against Maryland intruders, who
attempted to qrft possession, under a pretended tide from Lord Haltiinore, to the lands from
Yorktown down to tlie Susquehanna river to Wrijjht's Ferrw The contest for thes(> lands resulted
in strife and bloodshed, and continued duriny the lifetime of William Penn, and for fifty \ears
after his death. The Indians committed many depredations u[)on the settlers, and between the
aborigines and the Maryland in\aders. the situation of the pioneers was an unhappy and
The first public improvement of importance made was that of a jjuljlic road westward from
Wright's I-'erry (now Wrightsville), surveyed in 1740, on the petition of the inhabitants of Hellam
township, the first organized township in the county. This road extended to die Monocacy
road near the Potomac, and crossed the Codorus at a fording on the site of the Philadelphia
The site upon which to build Yorktown was surveyed for the proprietor's use in October,
IJ41. The tract surveyed embraced the territor\- King contiguous on both banks of the Codorus,
and upon the section surveyed, the present flourishing city of York now stands, a monument to
the struggles and hardships which confronted its projectors. Singular as it may appear to us at
this time, while there were many habitations in the vicinity of the site of Yorktown, there was
not one building within the present limits of the old borough of York as late as the year 1740.
The plan of laying out the city of Philadelphia was followed in la)-ing out Yorktown.
Squares of 4S0 feet by 520 feet, and lots of 230 feet by 65 feet. Two streets 80 feet wide were
to cross each other, and 65 feet square was to be cut off the corner of each block to make a
square for any public building or market of 1 10 feet each side. The first application for lots in
Yorktown was made in November, 1741. The first lot taken up was on east Market street, that
on which the Marshall House now stands, adjoining the court house, and ne.xt, those adjoining
towards the Center Square. Some twenty lots were taken up in this month, and no others until
the loth and iith of March, 1746, when forty-four were purchased. The building of this town
in the midst of the wilderness surrounding it, did not proceed very fast, for in 1751, ten years
afterward, but fifty houses had been erected. The original area of the town was 446^4 acres,
which was not increased until 18 14 by the addition of Hay's tract of sixty acres. The Lutherans
have the honor of erecting the first church in York in 1744. The German Reformed the
second, two years later.
AT THE RESIDENCE OF HUN. CHAUNCEY F. BLACK.
Orioiiiall)- York was a part of Lancaster count)-, and until 1740, the courts were held at
Lancaster. The people west of the Suscjuehanna found it a y^reat hardship to b(_' so far tlistant
from the seat of justice, and their complaints on this score resultetl in separation from Lancaster
county and in the establishment of the county seat at Yorktown. The hrst Court of Ouarter
Sessions of the Peace was held on the 31st tlay o( Octoi)cr, 174^. John Day, Escp, and his
associate justices held the court. The first Court of Common Pleas was held [anuary, 1750.
George Stephenson officiated as prothonotar\-, clerk of the courts, rei^nster of wills, recorder of
deeds and surveyor. This man Stephenson was a ver\- prominent character from the founding
of the town of Yorktown up to antl during- the war of the Revolutioii.
The new town, like all primitive settlenients, and not unlike our western border towns of
to-day, had rather inde[.iendent ideas of liberty, conse(|uentl)- thert! were nun-ierous scenes of
conflict, riot and bloodshed. There was a continued war of races between the Irish and
German, which exhibited itself with violence at elections and on all public occasions. Many
ludicrous accounts are given in the more extended histories of the county of these troubles,
which we are unable to refer to in the contracted limits of this sketch.
The progress of the new town was greatl\- retarded b\- the border troubles with lMar\land.
With a view to the settlement of these difhculiies, George the III, caused temporary limits to be
fixed, and in 1739 a line was run called "The Temporary Line" between the provinces of
Pennsylvania and Marjland, This line did not have the desired effect, and there continued a
conflict of authority between the two provinces by a misapprehension of the line, which kept on
until 1763, when commissioners were appointed on the part of Pennsylvania and Maryland to
fix a boundr)- line. Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, two famous mathematicians forever
s;:;ttled the disputed sections by running in 1767- 1768, the now fan-ious Mason and Dixon's line.
The line was marked by stones one mile apart, and on ever\- fifth mile stone was graven the
arms of the proprietaries. This line has become memorable in the history of the troubles between
the North and South as marking the northern and southern boundary.
We now leave the little town of \'ork, struggling to lay the foundations for future greatness,
to review events occuring elsewhere in the colonies, and in which events, the people of Yorktown
are destined to pla\- no unimportant part. The war between France and England for the
possession of the Ohio valley, has broken out. The death of Gen. Braddock and the disastrous
defeat of his army on the 9th of July, 1755, has occured. and the first attention directed to
George Washington, a man destined to become in a few years, the most conspicuous figure in
America, as the leader of her armies and the one to Ijreak the yoke of Britisii oppression. The
terrors of the French war visited the county of York. Its people in different sections experienced
all the cruelties of savage warfare and butchery. The setders not only organized for the defence
of their own homes, but companies of volunteers marched to the defense of their brethern in
Cumberland county, and four companies marched under Gen. Forbes and took part in the capture
of I'ort Duquense, at Pittsburg, and the subsequent driving of the French from the Ohio valley.
America by this time began to chafe under the oppressive measures of Great Britain, and to
assert her clainas for independence. In no place in the country was the spirit of such independence
more manifest than in York, and a class of men appeared as leaders of the people, who became
renowned in the histor\- of the county when the struggle for independence began.
It is a matter of local pride to know that as early as December, 1774, a company was formed,
which was the first military organization raised in Pennsylvania to resist the encroachments of
Great Britain. The captain of this company, James Smith, afterward became a member of
Congress and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. A company of York
riflemen, under command of Captain Michael Doudel, was the first that marched from Pennsylvania
to Boston, leaving York, July i, 1775. Five battalions of York county militia marched to New
Jersey. The famous Flying Camp, of Washington's army, represented in its ranks many York
countians. The York county patriots were with Gen. Washington in all his battles, enduring the
hardships and privations of his memorable campaigns with remarkable devotion to the country
and unflinching courage.
When the British army occupied Philadelphia, September 26, 1777, after the defeat of the
Continental army at Brandywine, Congress then in session at Philadelphia, fled to Lancaster, and
fearing that place would be open to incursions of the enemy, adjourned across the Susquehanna
to York. Congress held its first session here, September 30, 1777, in the old Court House, which
stood in the Center Square and continued here until the 27th of June, 177S. Their session at
York was during the most gloomy period of the Revolution and we incorporate the following
account of its sitting here and the interesting events connected with it from Gibson's history:
"The town of York— the seat of the American Tnion in our most gloomy times— may its
citizens enjoy in the same proportion their share of American prosperity."
•'The Theological seminars-, loLmded by the synod of the German Reformed cluirch, was
removed here in 182S. The principal professor of that institution, Rev. Lewis .Mayer, 1). 1).
edited a church magazine, distinguished for its ability. This seminary was removed to Mercers-
burg where it became famous for its theology, and is now a part of Franklin and .Marshall college
In the war with Me.xico, in 1846, there were a number of \'orkers who served with
conspicuous gallantry and distinction. In addition to her volunteers in the army and navv, ^'ork
was represented in the regular army by Granville O. Haller, William B. l->anklin, Horatio (iates
Gibson, and in the nav)- by George P. Welsh, Samuel R. iM'anklin and William Gibson, all of
whom became distinguished and rose to high rank in the war of the Rebellion.
In 185 1, the York County Agricultural Society was started, which Nourished and has been
kept up with the attendance of great financial success, uninterruptedly ever since, except diiring
the years of the civil war. The e.xtensive grountls owned b\- the company in West York and the
success which attends the annual fairs held every \ear, place it among the most llourishing
agricultural societies in the State.
The news of the firing upon Fort Sumter, April 12, 1S61, again aroused the patriotism of
our people which only needed some such rude awakening to call it into action. As in the
Revolutionary war, so in the war for the Union, York was the first borough in the commonwealth
to respond to the call for arms. The Worth Infantry, under Capt. Thomas A. Ziegle, and the York
Rifles, under Capt. George Hay, promptly tendered their services to Governor Curtin and were as
promptly accepted. The Legislature of Pennsylvania, at its session in 1893, recognized these
two companies by special act, as the first defenders from Pennsylvania in the war for the Union,
and directed that each member of them should be presented with a medal by the State in honor
of their being the first to respond to the call of the go\ernor for volunteers. Situated on the
borders of Maryland. York was the scene of continued excitement from the commencement to
the close of the war. In the three months campaign, York was made the rendezvous for State
troops. Camp Scott was established on the old Fair Grounds and the volunteers formed into
regiments, unilornied, disciplined and forwarded to tiie seat of war. The York Rilles were
attaclied to the 2nd Regiment, P. V., Col. Stambaugh, and the Worth Infantry to the i6th. and its
captain, Thomas A. Zicgle, made colonel. There were thousands of volunteers from \'ork in the
Union service. The llower of her youth rallied to th<; defense of the country and only the men too
old to bear arms remained at home. Two reg-iments of infantr\-, the Sjth, F.\'., Col. (ieorge Hay,
afterward commanded b\Col. JohnW. Schall, and the 130th Regiment, P.\\, H.J. Zinn, colonel and
Levi Maish, lieutenant colonel, were recruited jirincipall)- from this county. In addition to these two
regiments, there were in some instances entire companies from York and many of our citizens
attached to other regiments, prominent among which were those of the ist and 12th Pennsylvania
Reserves, ist Pennsylvania Artillery, the 76th, 187th, 107th. f94th, 200th, 107th, 109th and 103rd
Infantr)-, the iith, 9th and 21st Cavalry, all Pennsylvania regiments. Besides the regiments of
other States represented in their ranks man)- Yorkers. In the regular arm)- from \'ork w-ere Major
Granville O. Haller, 7th Infantry; Capt. Walter S. Franklin, 12th Infantry; Capt. Theo. D.
Cochran, 13th Infantry; Capt. Chas. Garretson, 17th Infantr)-; Lieut. Geo. W. H. Stouch, 3rd
Infantry; Lieut. Jacob L. Stouch, 12th Infantry; Major-Gen. William B. Franklin. Gen. Horatio
Gates Gibson, 3rd Artillery; Edmund Schriver, Inspector Gt-neral of the Army, l)revet Major-
General; Michael P. Small, Colonel, Commissary Department, brevet Brigadier General, In the
navy were Commanders Clark H. Welles, Samuel R. Franklin and William Gibson, all of whom
participated in the great naval engagements of the war. Inasmuch as York became prominent in
connection with the war of the Rebellion, by reason of the Reiiel Army under Gen. Karly. its
close pro.ximity to the battle-field of Gettysburg, and the location of a United States Hospital
here, it is very proper to give some extended account of those exciting times in her midst, and
therefore draw upon Gibson's Sketch for the following account, in view of its accuracy and brevity:
"In the meantime, events at home gave our people work to do: and in all cases when called
upon to furnish provisions or give aid to the sick and wounded, they were ready with abundance,
and with sanitary help. The 2nd Regiment of the Ira Harris Cavalry (6th X. Y.) took up winter
quarters here about Christmas, 1861. In the course of the winter barracks were erected on the
commons for their accommodation. This regiment had occasion to express their appreciation of
the hospitable attention they received from our citizens. Gen. Havelock, a distinguished British
officer, a volunteer on the staff of Gen. McClellan. as Inspector General of Cavalry, visited York,
ON THE DEIHL MILL ROAD.
RESIDENCE OF ADAM F. GEESEr.
BUILDINGS IN THE FAIR GROUNDS.
YORK COUNTY ACADEMY— 1787.
OLD QUAKER MEETING HOUSE.
in March 1862, for the purpose of superintending- the transportation of the New York regiment
which soon after left us. The barracks erected for them were converted into a mihtary hospital
in the course of the summer, in which many hundreds of soldiers were placed. The ladies of the
borough formed a society for the relief of sick and wounded soldiers, Mrs. C. A. Morris, president,
which was perfect in organization and effectiveness, and the attention, sympathy and aid afforded
by it have been gratefully rememl)ered. * * "" On the 28th of June, 1863, the Rebel Army
entered York. They marched into town about ten o'clock, on Sunday morning, entering the
west end of Market street; the church bells had commenced ringing- and the citizens crowded the
streets. Ladies on their way to church stopped on the porches and sidewalks. The whole
population soon thronged the streets, and men, women and children looked with curious eyes,
mingled with undefined apprehensions, upon the motley procession of cavalry, infantry and
artillery marching up Market street, the soldiers looking curiously from side to side, astonished
not less at their observers than their observers were at theni. The people were in holiday or
Sunday costume — the ladies in all their fashionable finery, and the men looking well dressed and
comfortable, in strange contrast with the ragged and worn appearance of the invading army.
These first troops that entered the town were General Gordon's brigade of twenty-five hundred
men, who marched up Market street, and on towards Wrightsville. The Union flag was floating
in the Center Square and was taken down and carried off by them."
"Two regiments of infantr)-, with ten pieces of artillery, followed, and with them, Major
General Early, commander of the division. This last brigade took possession of the hospital
grounds — the commons, General Early established his headquarters in the court house. York
was the only place of any considerable size and wealth they had had in their grasp. They saw
the rich valley, and the evidences of prosperity all around us, and made their demands accordingly.
Althouo-h the men were restrained from violence and citizens were treated with respect, the iron
hand of an enemy was felt. A requisition was made for provisions and articles of clothing and
one hundred thousand dollars in money. Our prominent business men, by their efforts, partially
filled the requisition — raising some twenty-eight thousand dollars. Threats were made of burning
the railroad buildings and car shops; and prudence dictated compliance as far as possible."
"Four brigades were in York and vicinity, commanded by Generals Gordon, Hayes, Smith
and Hoke. The brio-ade of General Gorden marched to Wrightsville, reaching there about six
o'clock in the evening. The few Union troops there retreated across the bridge, after the
exchange of a few shots with the enemy. The bridge was fired about midway, and soon the
whole was enveloped in llames. The invading troops left hastily on the morning of Tuesday,
the 30th of June, between four and five o'clock."
"There were some incidents connected with the Rebel invasion of the Borough of \'ork, which
gave rise to much excitement and misrepresentation at the time and afterward, and as a part of
the res ovs/u-, as the lawyers say, cannot pass unnoticed. Sufficient time has elapsed since the
war to view the proceedings calmly. A visit was made to the camp of the enemy, on the evening
preceding his entry into town, by the request of the committee of safetw in order to assure the
alarmed citizens of the safety of person and property — an assurance which accounts for the calm
manner in which the presence and control of a hostile foe was viewed b\- our people the next
day ; and the Mag; in Center Square, was left Hying to show that the town was /lo/ surrendered.
It was soon after replaced b\ another flag, presented by W. Latimer Small, Esq.. to the borough."
"At Hanover, the first battle of the war in Pennsylvania, was fought on Tuesday, the 30th
of June, 1863, an artillery and cavalr)' fight which lasted the greater part of the day — the
cannonading was distinctly heard in York. The third division of the cavalry corps of the Army
of the Potomac, under General Kilpatrick, one of the brigades of which was commanded by
General Custer, reached Littlestown on the 29th, and Hanover on the 30th, in pursuit of General
Stuart, who was known to be moving through Pennsylvania. The i8th Pennsylvania Cavalry
was of the rear guard of Kilpatrick's column, and while halting in the streets of Hanover, was
suddenly attacked by the head of Stuart's column; the 18th was at first driven through the town,
but rallying with the 5th New York, drove the enemy back, when his artillery opened fire. The
roar of guns brought Kilpatrick to the rescue. He formed his line of battle on the hills south
of Hanover, and the enemy held the heights to the north, the i8th Pennsylvania occupying the
town and barricading the streets. The fight, with artillery firing and skirmishing, continued until
dark, when the enemy retired. A large body of them came as far as Dover, and about two
hundred and thirty prisoners were paroled there. Thirteen Union men were killed and fourteen
wounded, four rebels killed and nine wounded. Stuart was prevented by this engagement from
joining Lee until after the battle of Gettysburg, and his absence was greatly deplored by the
Confederate leader. * * *
RESIDENCE OF THEO. R. HELB, IN COURSE OF CONSTRUCTION.
RESIDENCE OF D. F. LAFEAN.
"While Congress was in session here the news of the victory of General Stark, at Rennin5:,'-ton,
followed by the still more glorious news of the surrender of Bur^oync to (".ates, at Saratoga, was
received, and contrasted strongly with the disastrous condition of the army under Washington,
after the well concerted but unsuccessful attack upon the enemy's army at Germantown. Certain
generals of the army and members of Congress are supposed to have entered into a design, at this
time, to displace Washington and put in command GiMieral Gates who was covered with glory
and was the theme of eulogium on account of his recent triumphs, while Washington had gone
into winter quarters at \'alle\- Forge, with an army reduced, scant of provisions, with clothing
worn out — so badly oft" for shoes that the footsteps of the men were tracked with blood.
"One part of the alleged scheme was to detach Lafayette from Washington, by appointing
him to the command of an expedition for the invasion of Canada. Lafayette came to Yorktown.
where Gates was holding what has been styled his court. A feast was given in his honor, and his
reception was cordial. The faith and devotion of the gallant young French nobleman never
faltered toward the man whom he so loved and honored. According to the custom of the day
toasts were given, and he gave as his: 'The commander-in-chief of the American armies.' It is
said that it was received without cheering.
'•While Colonel Wilkinson was on his way to York, he dined at Reading, with Lord Stirling
and his staff. Being in a convivial mood he told the aid-de-camp of his lordship what had been
written by General Conway to General Gates in disparagement of General Washington. Lord
Stirling communicated this to Washington, who let the parties know that he knew it, which
occasioned great consternation among his enemies. Wilkinson being in fault became very sensi-
tive. He considered his honor wounded by Gates, and by Lord Stirling, from both of whom he
determined to demand satisfaction. The affair with Gates as it occurred here in our town is
worth relating as a matter of curious information. According to the account of Wilkinson, as
given by himself, he came to York, purposely arriving in the twilight to escape observation, and
found a willing friend to convey his challenge to Gates. The meeting was fixed at eight o'clock
in the morning, with pistols. The place was in the rear of the Episcopal church. At the appointed
time, Wilkinson and his second, having put their arms in order, were about to sail)- forth, when
the second of the General met them and informed Wilkinson that Gates desired to speak with him.
He found Gates unarmed and alone, who disavowed any intention of injuring him, and Wilkinson's
woiirnled honor was satisfied. The whole plot thus ended in personal questions of offended honor.
It appeared by after developments that the movement, whatever it was, was not formidable; and
there was no sufficient evidence to prove any concerted plan. The censure of Washington's
plans and policy, and the opportune successes of Gates, placed the latter in the light of a supposed
rival for the commantl of the army. The calmness and self command of Washington never failed
him; and when the disastrous loss of the battle of Camden called forth his personal sympathy,
Washington and Gates again became friends.
••The Congress sat with closed doors, and here they resumed the memorable debate on the
first plan of union of the colonies and on the 15th of November, 1777, adopted the articles of
Confederation. They disseminated the news to the public by means of a press brought from
Philadelphia, on which, also, they printed large quantities of continental money, some of which
is said to have been found concealed here after the war was over. Resolutions were passed in
recognition of the brave foreigners of distinction who aided our cause. Lafayette was recom-
mended to the command of a division. A resolution of thanks was voted to Baron Steuben for
his zeal in the cause of America, and Count Pulaski was authorized to raise an independent corps
of horse and foot; the horse to be armed with lances; and some of it was recruited here. John
Hancock resigned his position as president of the Continental Congress, whilst holding its session
here, which occurred on the 31st of October, 1777, having filled the office since May 24, 1775;
and Henry Laurens was elected in his place. Matthew Clarkson and John Clark were, on the 6th
of January, 1778, appointed auditors of the army under the command of General Washington.
••On the nth of June. 1778, Philip Livingston, a delegate from the State of New York, and
one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died while here, and was buried in the
burying ground of the German Reformed church, where a monument of white marble, surmounted
by an urn, was erected to his memory. James Smith lived to a good old age, having died in the
year 1806. He was buried in the Presbyterian church yard, where his tomb stone is readily
"The Old Court House which became famous on account of the session within its walls of
the Continental Congress, was built in the Center Square in 1756. In the steeple of that old
court house was hung the bell, which, according to the History of York county, came as a
present from Queen Caroline of England, for the Episcopal church in York, about the year 1774.
ST. MARY'S CHURCH.
RESIDENXE OF GEO. S. SCHMIDT,
RESIDEN'CE OF JOHN C. SCHMIDT.
•■■ ■■' ,. -'i- .
V^^'' ;,^^?i^^'^ ■
But Caroline, wife of Cicorge II. of Eiiil^UiikI, died in 1737. The yenerous tlonor was, in all
probabiiit)', Caroline Matilda, sister of George III, Oueen of Denmark, being the wife of Christian
\TI, a lady of unhapjjy history, who was imprisoned in 1772, and spent the last three years of
her life in the castle of Zell, Hanover, where she distributed charities. She died in 1775.
"The bell for man\- years rung out the time for the service of the Episcopal church, as well
as for the meetings of the court. Were that old court house standing now, it would be considered
an act of vandalism to tear it down. That was done in September, 1841. As was remarked at
the time, 'not one brick should be touched, nor should the structure be removed one inch from
its site, for the time would come when pilgrimages would be made to those buildings so intimately
associated with the toils and triumphs of the Revolution — that they would become the Meccas of
Freedom, where her sons would congregate to rekindle in their bosoms the sacred llame of
gratitude to the deliverers of their country, and of devotion to those principles which they
"On one side of the old court house was erected a building known as the State house, in
which were the county offices, and what we have not now, a county miscellaneous library,
consisting of a well selected collection of books which disappeared with the building. On the
other side was a market house of the antique pattern. The clock which was on the old court
house was put on the Lutheran church steeple, and the figure of a soldier with drawn sword,
which surmounted the cupola, was placed on the Laurel engine house ; these relics are still on
these places. * * * The men of York performed their part well at home and on the battle
field during the remaining trying years of the war, which lingered on with its terrible hardships
to the Anierican soldiers, with alternate victory and defeat, in ever memorable battles, until the
surrender of Lord Cornwallis to General Washington, at Yorktown, Virginia, on the 19th of
October, 17S1, caused hostilities to cease, producing universal joy. This news was received at
York with great rejoicing, business was suspended, bells were rung, and a great bonfire built.***
"From time to time during the war large numbers of prisoners, principally Hessians, were
brought to York, under the escort of the militia. In individual instances, by permission of the
council of safety or the board of war, prisoners were discharged on parole and allowed to take
up a residence from choice; and some Hessians settled in York County. * * * In 1781, an
act of Congress directed that the British convention prisoners in Maryland and Virginia be
RESIDENCE OF CAPT. W. H. LAN I US.
CALVARY PRESBYTERLAN CHURCH.
RESIDEKXE OF JAS. A. DALE.
RESIDENCE OF J. A. SINGER.
removed to Yorktown, Penns\ivania, from fear of rescue liy Cornwallis, and the York county
militia were ordered out to guard them. It appears l)y a hotter from President Reed to William
Scott, lieutenant of this county, [une 2S. 1781, that these prisoners were ordered to be placed in
huts near York. I'our and a half miles east of town in Windsor township, about twenty acres of
woodland was cleared and culti\'ated b)' them, surrounded b)- a picket fence, fifteen feet high.
The huts were mostly of stone. Some of the timber of the fence and stones of the huts yet remain.
While there a plague of some kind broke out among them, and a large number, computed by
some that a thousand of them died. Their graves are still visible marked, with stones. * * *
Near the place where these prisoners were hutted, is an old stone house, built by John Schultz
and wife, in 173-I.. This is the first stone house erected in York county, now owned by Mrs.
Susan Glatz, and still occupied as a dwelling. It was a tavern, and, it is said that the Continental
Congress, who had crossed the Susquehanna at Wright's and at Anderson's (now Glatz's) Ferries,
on their waj- to Yorktown, stopped there to water their horses. They had saddles which greatly
excited the curiosity of the persons gathered there, such things being then unknown to them."
Thomas Paine, the noted infidel, who was the author of several pamphlets, prominent among
which were "The Age of Reason," and the "Rights of Man," and who had tried various erratic
ways of making a living as a marine, an excise man, a teacher of English and had acquired a
reputation for extreme views on religion and politics, resided in Yorktown during the session of
Congress, in 1778. He lived in the rear of King's Grist Mill, in the old stone house, still standing
there. This house is situated on the west bank of the Codorus, in the Ninth ward. While residing
here Paine is generally believed to have written his famous "Crisis." At the time he had been
serving with Washington as a private soldier. The "Crisis" was a paper designed to raise the
drooping hopes of the army, and when read to the soldiery, apparently had the desired effect of
hring their hearts to renewed energ)', their ardor having been considerably impaired by defeat.
At the close of the Revolutionary war, in 1780, there were 290 houses erected in Yorktown,
with an estimated population of 1,000. The number of its inhabitants at the time of its incorpora-
tion into a borough, on the 24th of September, 17S7, is supposed to have been nearly 2,000.
Henry Miller was the first chief burgess, and James Smith one of the assistant burgesses.
Other churches had up to this time been erected in addition to the Lutheran and German
Reformed, already mentioned. The Moravian in 1756. A Roman Catholic church about 1779.
The St. John's Episcopal church founded in 1769. The first church of this congregation was
finished before the war but not occupied. It was used for some time as an arsenal. The First
Presbyterian church was built in 1789.
In 187S, the old York County Academy, one of the first institutions of learning- was built and
instruction commenced the same year. This old school continues to this day.
About the time of the incorporation of Yorktown into a borough, the constitution of the
United States was adopted in convention, September 17, 1787. A noted celebration was held
here in honor of this event, July 4, 1788. Thomas Hartley was the first member of Congress
elected under the new g^overnment, serving until his death in 1800.
"An interesting question arose under the new government as to the site for the capital of the
United States. A strong party in Congress advocated the fixing the capital at Wright's Ferry,
on the Susquehanna, where Wrightsville has since developed into a handsome borough. It had
a narrow escape from becoming the capital of the country. Washington himself was in favor of
it for its beauty and security. The members from New England and New York preferred it, and
for many days it seemed to have a better chance than Harrisburg, Baltimore, New York, Ger-
mantown, or Philadelphia. Ihere were earnest debates on the subject. "
Various houses have been pointed out here in York as having been occupied by General
Washington during the war. While he no doubt may have been here during the session of Con-
gress, whilst his army was in winter quarters at Valley Forge, there is no well authenticated record
to establish such fact. It has been determined, however, by a recent discovery in the diary of the
Moravian church that Gen. Washington visited York July 2, 1791, at 2 p. >r. The entry in the
church book having been made on the day of his visit by the pastor of the Moravian congregation.
"The first act of the nineteenth century affecting the county of York was the erection of
Adams county, on the 22nd of January, in the year 1800, taking off an area of 337,920 acres, and
about 12,000 people, still leaving York county with fair proportions, with 589,440 acres, 921 scjuare
miles, and about 25,000 inhabitants. This separation is represented by contemporary chronicles
to have been the result of a prolonged and bitter contest with the western section of the county,
commencing in the days of Richard McAlister and Hans Hamilton. The name of Adams at that
period in our history, shows the political predilections of the separatists."
"Mechanical progress was not unknown here. The railroad had been heard of and the
RESIDENCE OF P. B. SPAHR,
VIEW ON SOUTH GEORGE STREET.
power of steam was known. It is no small source of congratulation to know that the first loco-
motive built in America, and exhibited at the great exposition at Philadelphia in 1876, in front of
the Maryland building, was built at York, by a Yorker, in 1829. It was constructed by Phineas
Davis, who lived here and married here, and citizens are living now who knew him and the fact
of the building by him of his locomotive engine. This locomotive was first run upon the Balti-
more and Susquehanna railroad. John Elger constructed about the same time an iron boat, the
first of the kind, which, after successful experiment on the Codorus and Susquehanna, was pur-
chased and used abroad."
"Enterprise in the matter of railroads has been from the first a marked feature in the progress
of our community. Early in the era of the introduction of railroads in this country, communication
took place between York and Baltimore, by means of the Baltimore and Susquehanna and the
York and Maryland Line railroads. The first regular train of cars arrived in York from Baltimore
on Thursday, the 23d of August, 1838. Thus opening a means of communication — business
and social — with a large city, to the great advantage of our people."
"The newspapers in York then were the Republican, the Gazette (English and German,) and
the Press. The Republican had been published under that name since 1830, succeeding a paper
published from the same office called the York Recorder, commenced in 1800, which had
succeeded by a change of name to the Pennsylvania Herald, the first number of which was issued
in 1789. The York Gazette was first published in 18 [5, and the German Gazette was first
published in 182 i. The first number of the Democratic Press was issued in June, 1838. Since
these there have been issued the York Pennsylvanian on July 19, i85i, and the True Democrat
in June, 1864. These are the weekly newspapers in the borough at the present time, and
with the other papers in the county, the Hanover Gazette (German) and Citizen and Herald, the
Wrightsville Star and Glen Rock Item, Dillsburg Era, Delta Times, Delta Herald and four
dailies, the Age, the Daily, the Dispatch, the Gazette in the city, presents as -fair an exhibition of
newspaper enterprise and editorial ability as can be found in any community. There was a daily
paper issued during the war, called the York Recorder, and was regularly published from the 17th
of June, 1 86 1, to the 20th of August, 1861.''
At this date, July, 1893, York is connected with the outside world by means of the great
Pennsylvania system of railroads, the Western Maryland, which road is just being completed
through York and the Baltimore and Leigh.
ENTRANCE TO HIGHLAND PARK,
VIEW ON WEST KING STREET.
ON NORTH STREET.
LAUREL ENGINE HOUSE.
BUILDINGS IN THE FAIR GROUNDS.
VIEW ON WEST MARKET STREET.
In the War of i8i2, we again lind the same spirit of patriotism asserting itself that
characterized the Yorkers in former wars. Both in tiie naval and land services the stalwart sons
of York arc found doing duty against the. invaders. Commodore Elliott, of the frigate Niagara,
was an active participant with the gallant Perr\-, on Lake Erie. Captain Michael Spangler, with
the York Volunteers, one hundred strong, marched to the defense of Baltimore, August 29, 18 14
and fought gallantly in the batde of North Point, September 12, 18 14.
The llight of time is generally marked by inhabitants of little towns like York, with the
occurrence of some great disaster or calamity. The Hood of 18 17, one of the most destructive
ever occuring in this section, and one in which several hundred thousands of dollars worth of
property was destro)'ed and many citizens who, before the occurrence, were in comfortable
circumstances, reduced to beggary, has ever been one of the great time epochs in the town's
history. All events antedating this flood and occuring several years afterward, were referred to
as having taken place before or after the flood of 1817. Equally destructive floods have visited
the Codorus valley since that of 1S17, notably those of 1884 and 1889, resulting in great
destruction of property and nearly all the county bridges, involving a loss to the county alone of
a hundred thousand dollars in each year, besides an immense loss of private property, yet these
more recent calamities were never considered in the light of such awful catastrophes as the ever
memorable llood of 18 17, the details of which had so frequently been recited by our sires.
Fire companies were organized in York as early as 1772, and what was called a water engine,
used as early as August, 1772. The volunteer department of York, to-day, with its splendid
equipment of steam hre engines, hook and ladder truck, all drawn by magnificent horses, is the
best in the State and the pride alike, of firemen and citizens. The companies are five in number,
viz: the Vigilant, Laurel, LJnion, Rescue and Rex. The Gamewell system of Electric Fire Alarm
is used, and all the engine houses connected with every part of the city.
In 1S25, Lafayette, visited York, on the occasion of his tour of the United States, and was
given an overwhelming reception here. He was honored with a dinner to which one hundred
gentlemen sat down. To the following toast he responded:
"Lafa\'ette — we love him as a man — hail him as a deliverer, revere him as champion of
freedom, and welcome him as a a^uest." To which he gave:
iit t vtvt^fc^./ y>-
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT— Prospect Hill Cemetery.
QUEEN STREET, SOUTH FROM PHILADELPHIA.
RESIDENCE OF WM. M. DODSON
AT THE OLD PAPER MILLS.
"The first and eleventh corps of the army of the Potomac, on Wednesday, the ist of July,
1863, came up with the enemy, in large force, under Generals Hill and Longstreet, near Gettysburg,
and a short and severe engagement ensued in and around that town. General Reynolds was
killed at the commencement of the fight, while riding at the head of his troops. On Thursday,
another engagement began — the rest of the army under General Meade having come up, and the
army of the Confederates under General Lee. The firing was heard here distinctly, and in the
evening, from six to eight o'clock, it was terrific. On Friday, the battle continued, resulting in
the defeat and retreat of Lee. This great battle furnished an opportunity to our people to
forward supplies and assistance to the wounded and suffering soldiers, on and in the neighborhood
of the field of battle. It scarce needed a public meeting, which was called for the purpose, to
cause our citizens to bring in abundance of provisions to the market and court houses. In less'
than two hours and a half, thirty wagons, loaded down with the necessaries of life, bread, cakes,
hams and delicacies, accompanied by male and female nurses, were on their way to the battle
field. Provisions continued to arrive and were at once forwarded to the scene of action."
The Soldiers' Orphans' Home was established in 1865; the late Samuel Small donated a lot
of ground on East Philadelphia street for the erection of a building for the use of the home,
which was built by the aid of patriotic citizens, and first occupied April i, 1867.
In 1835, the county of York accepted the provisions of the common school law, and from
that day forward, much attention was given the advancement of free education in our midst.
The high school was established in this borough in 1870, and has been kept up to a high
standard of excellence. York possesses some of the finest school houses in the commonwealth,
and everything is done to promote the advances of education in our town and county. The York
Collegiate Institute, another institution of instruction here, is conducted under the auspices of
the Presbyterian church. The college building is one of the most imposing structures in the
city. It was founded by the late Samuel Small, in the year 1873.
York has frequently been termed by strangers, as the city of churches, a title not at all
•nappropriate, for she excels in the number of churches and in the beauty and costliness of
their architecture. Many handsome public buildings of imposing proportions, pleasing design
and construction, are to be seen in various parts of the city. In the past twenty-five years, a
commendable ambition urged the people here to erect beautiful modern residences, which has
RESIDENCE OF FRANK GEISE.
EAST MARKET STREET.
BROCKIE SPRINGS ON THE BLACK PLACE.
AT THE LIME KILN.
AT LOUCK'S CODORUS MILL.
LOOKING SOUTHEAST FROM FARQUHAR'S PARK.
resulted in the Iniikliny of many princely homes. The suburban residences in the recently
annexed territory, are especially beautiful and costly. Upon the eminences overlooking the city
and in close proximit)' to it, the wealthier classes have built magnificent country seats. Numerous
costly business houses, with fronts of stone and iron, have of late years been erected, monuments
to the energy and prosperity of our tradesmen and merchants. The United States Government
is now engaged in the construction of a superb post ofhce building on the northwest corner of
Philadelphia and Beaver streets, at a cost of $80,000. The bill providing for the erection of
this building was presented and its passage secured by our distinguished fellow citizen, Col. Levi
Maish, while serving as a member of the Fort)-ninth Congress.
The court house, with its white granite front and Corinthian pillars, is a distinguishable
feature among the buildings on East Market street. The jail, hospital and poor house, are fine
and substantial structures, erected at a great cost. The poor house is maintained at the expense
of the count)- and affords a comfortable home for the hundreds of York county's unfortunate poor.
September 24, 1887, York celebrated its first centennial as an incorporated borough. Two
days were devoted to this purpose, and the demonstrations in honor of the auspicious event, were
of the grandest and most enthusiastic character imaginable ; all the civic societies, tradesmen
and mechanics' unions and the citizens generally participating.
York, up to the breaking out of the War of the Rebellion, was not proverbial for enterprise
and push. During and following the war, however, a new impetus seemed to seize upon her
people, which has continued unabated ever since, in marked contradistinction to her old time
apathy and absence of pluck. This is a great manufacturing center, representing most ever)-
manufacturing industry in the numerous works prominent in Pennsylvania. The principal
manufactories operating at present are those making agricultural implements, railroad cars, steam
engines, boilers, hair cloth, wire mattresses, matches, cigar and other boxes, iron bridges, house
fronts and ornamental castings, beside the most extensive carriage works in the country, and a
large rolling mill. In addition to this there are at least seventy cigar manufactories in the cit\-,
and more than eight hundred in the county, the combined product of which is far in excess of
200,coo,ooo cigars annually. In the city are six national banks, two private banks and one State
bank, which have always been able to accommodate the business men here and weathered all
panics yet bursting upon the country.
LOOKING KAST ON LINDEN AVENUE.
RIDGE AVENUE i\I. E. CHURCH.
YORK COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE.
IN PROSPECT HILL CEMETERY.
In the country surrounding- York, there are extensive quarries of hmestone, slate, sandstone
and ore banis;s. The mineral wealth of the county is supposed to be abundant, but has never
On the second day of November, 1886, the people at an election held for the purpose,
adopted a city form of government. The vote cast resulted as follows: For city, 1892; against,
1255; majority for city charter, 637. The new government went into operation April 4, 1887.
D. K. Noell, democrat, was the first mayor, who was elected February 15. of the same year.
The population of York county in 1790 was 37,747; in i860, 68,200; in 1880, 87,841; in
1890, 99,489. The population of York borough in 1880 was 13,940; in 1890, 20,793.
The subject of the removal of the old market sheds which stood in Center Square ever since
the demolition of the old court house, and previous to that time, in a less pretentious shape, was one
that had agitated the public mind for many years and called forth heated discussions in the public
prints. The element desiring the removal of the sheds, notwithstanding the city governors
favored the tearing of them away, feared that to attempt the work of destruction in the daytime,
would excite opposition and precipitate riot, decided to perform the job under cover of night.
Accordingly, the mayor authorized their destruction to take place on the morning of June 30, 1887,
at 2 A. -M. The work of demolition was started with vigor and speedily accomplished, attended
by considerable excitement and exultation on the part of those favorable to their removal. When
the old time structures were razed to the ground, an alarm of fire was sounded to summon the
sleeping citizens to view the work of destruction. Those opposed to the action were very indig-
nant and threatened suits for damage to city property. The excitement died out and nothing was
done. It was predicted by many that the removal of the sheds would destroy the ancient Center
market. Such, however, has proved a delusion, and although the market is held on the old spot
in the open air, it continues to be the best attended market in the city, unimpeded by the elements.
In addition to this market, the city enjoys the advantages of four large market buildings owned
by corporations, wherein markets are held every day in the week.
In the year 1892, the York Street Railway, which company had been operating street cars
by horse-power since September 30, 1886, changed August 27, 1892, to the Trolley system of
electro motive power and intend to shortly extend their system to all the towns within a radius of
ten or more miles of York. The streets are illuminated by electric light, furnished from two
central stations, one operated b)- the Edison company and the other by the Westinghouse.
Business houses and private residences are Hghted by the incandescent system of both these
companies, and also by the York Gas company. The old method of macadamizino- streets is
being superceded by the more modern, cleanl)- and substantial paving with asphalt blocks. At
this time, one square each direction from Center Square, is being laid with these blocks. The
city has all tlie advantages of telephone and telegraph service and ever)- comfort and convenience,
enjoyed by the larger municipalities.
York city and county contribute largely to the revenue of the general government. The
records of the office of Internal Revenue here, exhibit the fact, that in the last year, the sum of
1907,310.17 was paid for stamps on cigars and tobacco alone. The tax on distilled spirits
manufactured here, is paid direct to the main office in Lancaster, which, added to this amount,
would aggregate a much larger sum, revealing the fact that York pays more internal revenue
than any other county in the great Ninth Revenue District. The post office reports show that
the gross receipts for the year ending June 30, 1893, were S39. 570.21 ; total expenses, 13,147.86;
net receipts, $23,422.35.
'17 A 'S"^}
Art work of York